Clarke County public school students will have an extended school day Aug. 21.
That’s the day of a total eclipse of the sun, which peaks at 2:38 p.m., eight minutes after the normal dismissal time for Clarke County elementary schools.
Rather than send children home on buses in the dark, the district plans to delay busing until the sun returns, said Jack Parish, the school district’s interim superintendent.
The eclipse will come just as students get settled into their routines. The first day of school is Aug. 9.
Athens is just outside the path of a total eclipse, but here the sun will be about 99 percent obscured, said John Knox, a Clarke County School Board member and a University of Georgia geography professor.
The path of total eclipse is slightly to the north and east of Athens. The path over the United States will begin in Oregon and make its way southeast across the nation, passing over a part of northeast Georgia and through the middle of South Carolina, including the city of Columbia.
The eclipse will begin here at 1:07 p.m. and end at 4:01 p.m., Knox said.
Along with UGA science education professor Julie Luft, Knox has also launched a fundraising drive to buy special eclipse-watching glasses for the district’s nearly 14,000 students.
Knox and Luft had collected $4,101 in donations as of Monday, according to totals posed on the UGA’s Georgia Funder website,
The drive has two dollar goals: $4,500 will buy enough special glasses for every student in the district, while an additional $1,500 will help provide glasses for schools in surrounding counties.
Additional donations will be accepted at the Georgia Funder site until July 31.
They’re also recruiting UGA graduate students to come out to the schools on that day to help explain what’s going on and make sure students view the eclipse safely, according to Knox.
In Athens, it will be unsafe to look at the eclipse without the special glasses, Knox said.
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